History and Geography of Faial Island
It is believed that the discovery of Faial Island was made in the first half of the 15th century, and initially the Island was called in some atlases of the time “Insula de Ventura”.
People came to live in Faial Island in the beginning of 1460, settling in the area of Cedros, having left for the most part the north of Portugal. Sometime later, the Flemish arrived, and concentrated their population in a valley that today is known as the Flamengos.
In the 19th century, a time of opposition between liberals and absolutists, the people of Faial Island sided with the Liberals. In 1832, King Pedro IV, the spokesperson for the liberal cause went to Faial Island as a way of thanking its people’s support. In the following year, Horta was declared a city by King Pedro IV, in recognition to the people of Faial Island. The construction of Horta’s docks was initiated in 1876, and quickly became an important port of call for the ships that crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1919 Faial Island was used as a point of scale to the first airplane that carried through the passage of the Atlantic. Its geographic position was an essential stop for Pan American Airlines, as well as its submarine intercontinental station for the French, English, Italians, Germans and Americans.
Also due to its geographic location, Faial Island played a very important role in the strategic plans of the Allies during the Second World War.
In 1957, a volcano erupted just 1km away from the coast, near a small rock called Capelinhos, which became a solid ash island, and later joined Faial Island through an isthmus, known today as Ponta dos Capelinhos.